What To Eat While Pregnant
“Healthier mothers have healthier babies,” says the UN Chronicle. Every mother wants a healthy baby. So what foods should a mother eat while pregnant?
Sources of protein include meat (but avoid liver), fish, poultry, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts. Eat some protein every day. Choose lean meat, remove the skin from poultry, and cook it using only a little fat. Make sure eggs, poultry, pork, burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through. Check that there is no pink meat, and that juices have no pink or red in them. Try to eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as sardines or mackerel.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables because these provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which helps digestion and prevents constipation. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – these can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Always wash them carefully. Cook vegetables lightly in a little water, or eat them raw but well washed, to get the benefit of the nutrients they contain.
Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt are important because they contain calcium and other nutrients that your baby needs. Choose low-fat varieties wherever possible. For example, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and half-fat hard cheese. Aim for two to three portions a day.
Starchy foods are an important source of vitamins and fibre, and are satisfying without containing too many calories. They include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, sweet potatoes, yams and cornmeal. These foods should be the main part of every meal.
If you get hungry between meals, don’t eat snacks that are high in fat and/or sugar, such as sweets, biscuits, crisps or chocolate. Instead, choose from the following nutritious snacks:
- sandwiches or pitta bread filled with grated cheese, lean ham, mashed tuna, salmon or sardines and salad
- salad vegetables, such as carrot, celery or cucumber
- low-fat yoghurt or fromage frais
- hummus with bread or vegetable sticks
- ready-to-eat apricots, figs or prunes
- vegetable and bean soups
- unsweetened breakfast cereals, or porridge, with milk
- milky drinks or unsweetened fruit juices
- fresh fruit
- baked beans on toast or a baked potato
Where do the extra kilos come from?
A total weight increase of about 11.2kg (24lb) is normal.
A baby weighs approximately 3.5kg (7lb 11oz) before birth.
The uterus grows to approximately 900g (1lb 14oz).
The placenta weighs approximately 650g (1lb 6oz).
The amniotic fluid weighs approximately 800g (1lb 12oz).
The woman’s breasts grow by approximately 400g (14oz).
The weight of the extra blood is approximately 1.25kg (2lb 12oz).
Water retained in the body tissues weighs approximately 2kg (4lb 6oz).
The layer of fat beneath the skin weighs approximately 1.7kg (3lb 11oz).